Monday, December 8, 2014

The Dangers of a Low View of Scripture



The one danger that I come across while conversing with a wide variety of Christians is the danger of having a low view of Scripture; why do I ascribe having a low view of Scripture as being a danger, and what is a low view of Scripture?

Let me start with providing three views that one can take on Scripture. Depending on what view one holds will affect the whole of his Christian worldview.

First view: Liberalism: This view has other names such as limited inerrancy and modernism, but we will use the word liberal or liberalism to describe this first view.This view states that only some parts of the Bible are inspired or from God...while other parts of the Bible are just the mere words of men. The overall danger of this view is that the reader sits in judgement over the Bible. The reader is the one who decides what is inspired and what is not from God.

Second view: this view is called Neo-Orthodoxy, or the new modernism. This view is very deceiving and is held by many Protestant Christians today. It is taught in our seminaries and preached from our pulpits on a regular basis.

This view is sometimes called Barthianism (after a famous theologian, Karl Barth). This view teaches that the whole Bible is the word of man. This view goes further in that it teaches that when people read the Bible, God somehow uses these words to speak to their hearts, and the message they receives becomes the word of God.

In this view the Bible in not the final authority...it is the person who receives its message. In this view you can have different people reading the same text and receive contradicting messages, and all the messages are true and  equally valid.

Third View: There are many names that are given for this view....Reformed view...Orthodox view...Historical view etc. This view teaches that every single word is the truth of God. No part of the Scriptures are not inspired (God breathed). Even if an Atheist would read the Scriptures, it would still be the word of God, even if it was believed or not, accepted or rejected...it would remain the objective word of God.

The one screaming danger of having a low view of Scripture that I have witnessed is that the individual becomes the authority as to all matters of spiritual life, God, and faith. In the end, it is the individual who decides what God has said.

When in my debates with those who hold a low view of Scripture the one characteristic that I see them display is they put a great emphasis on their emotions. You will hear for example: "How could a loving God let people go to hell?...or they will cherry pick texts of Scripture to fit their narrative of who God is...or you will see an unbalanced emphasis on relationship and unity over-against holding to the teachings of the Sacred Scriptures.

My admonition to the body of Christ is to follow the charge laid out by Jude in 1:3, "I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God's holy people."



Thursday, November 6, 2014

Boundaries



                      

Why are boundaries so important to our spiritual and emotional health? It is really easy to answer; because they protect us. They protect us from the dysfunction of others and from our own dysfunctions. Think back to the myriad of prohibitions in the Old Testament...God gave them to His chosen people Israel, to keep them safe so they would reflect His glory to the nations that surrounded them.

You might ask, what is a boundary anyway? Think of a boundary as an invisible property line. When we were thinking of a way to keep our new puppy safe outside someone suggested an underground fence. They bury a thin wire underground and the puppy wears a receiving collar and receives a low shock when he gets to close to the underground wire...thus teaching him to stay in the boundaries. On our property there is a busy road to the one side our house; so the purpose was to keep our new puppy from getting hurt or killed by traffic.

The boundaries that we set in our life define us and help us to guard our souls, see Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. One aspect of setting up healthy boundaries is that they show us where our responsibilities end and someone else's begins.

One danger in any relationship is crossing over into interpersonal boundaries. When person A continually does for person B what person B should do for him/herself a dependency, and co- dependence is created, and nobody wins.

One of the bedrock foundations of life is knowing what we are to take responsibility for in life...this gives the individual as sense of autonomy and freedom. How many people do you know that have fallen into the victim role? They go through life blaming others (parents, society,) for their failures in life. When this happens the individual’s options in life become limited and failure is inevitable.

The Christian life is one of continued repentance. We are continually getting rid of sin and the weights that so easily slow us down in our race toward Christ-likeness. We are bringing into our lives those things that spur us on toward Christian maturity and Christ-likeness...it is the putting on of Christ and putting off of the old-man that the Apostle Paul talks about in his epistles.

This concept of boundaries should not be foreign to the Christian...for God is a God of boundaries. One can hardly go through the Scriptures without coming across a prohibition or a directive. God is holy, and by the very nature of His holiness God has set boundaries against sin.

It is our responsibility to know the boundaries that God has set for us. Once we know these boundaries we can erect mile high fences so we can stay within the will and plan of God for our lives.

My Christian friends...get out your hammer and wood; and build those boundaries in your life to the glory of God.



  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How our Main Stream Media shows their true colors

                                 




Here we go again; another fire-storm of controversy is being stoked by our leftist/progressive MSM. We just came off the heels of the Martin/Zimmerman case where in the beginning if you remember had Zimmerman guilty of not just murder, but also of being a full-blown racist.

The misleading media coverage in that case was first the media putting up a mug shot of Zimmerman, and a very young picture of Martin. The media continued to run their narrative that this was a raced based shooting to the point where NBC edited part of the Zimmerman 911 call, making it sound as if Zimmerman was a racist.
NBC later apologized for the editing "error" in the dialogue in George Zimmerman's taped 911 call during a segment on the Today Show.
On Today, the conversation with the dispatcher ran as follows:

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he's up to no good. He looks black.

This is the call in context:

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he's up to no good. Or he's on drugs or something. It's raining and he's just walking around, looking about.
Dispatcher: OK, and this guy - is he black, white or Hispanic?
Zimmerman: He looks black.

The misleading media continued right up to the trial and all the way through the trial. Ever so slightly slanting their reporting and conveniently leaving out key and relevant facts, so as to run their narrative that this was a race-based murder.

Now to August 9, 2014, an 18-year-old black male was shot and killed by a white Ferguson County police officer. Tragedy no matter how the case plays out. But let's look at how the MSM ran their narrative: First, we're told that Brown was shot in the back while fleeing police officer Darrin Wilson. When the autopsy report was concluded, it was determined that Mr. Brown was shot not in the back, but in the front.

We're told that Mr. Brown was just an ordinary teen who was soon heading off to college. Next, surveillance video comes out showing this young man strong arming a convenience store. In addition, the toxicology report determined that Mr. Brown had drugs in his system.

Now, we are not to make a determination from this information on the guilt or innocence of police officer Darren Wilson...my only point in presenting this perspective is to show how the leftist/progressive MSM run their narrative.

The MSM walked out witness that testified they saw Brown running from Darrin Wilson when he was shot...that has since been proven false after autopsy reports showed that Brown was shot not in the back, but in the front. There is other testimony of a struggle between Brown and Police officer Darrin Wilson, and that Mr. Wilson acted in self defense, sadly, this was not reported in the immediate opening of this story by the MSM.

Let me digress one more time. How many remember when in 2011 Gabrielle Gifford’s was shot by Jared Lee Loughner? The first reports by the leftist/progressive MSM was that the shooting was linked to a radical right-winged Tea Party group.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. Jared Lee Loughner was nothing more than a deranged man who acted solely on his own. But be damned with the facts....get the seeds planted and then retract. The seeds in this case were that if you are a Tea Party member, one who stands for low taxes and small government, you are a fringe person of society to be feared.

This case will play out...the wheels of justice will turn. But if it was left in the hands of the MSM, both Zimmerman, the Tea Party, and police officer Darren Wilson would all be guilty of murder.



           

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I have a deep concern for the body of Christ






I have a deep concern for the body of Christ. My concern is the constant and steady drift I see taking place in the body of Christ as she moves away from divine revealed truth. I see human logic and gut-emotion reigning and squeezing out the authority of God's absolute truth.

As I reflect on this drift, it dawns on me that this is nothing new. The revealed truth of God as revealed to the Church has been under attack from the time the canon of Scripture was compiled. God's authority was under attack way back in the Garden of Eden, as we hear the serpent whisper in the ear of Eve "hath God said."

I remember back in 2008, while earning my masters degree in an evangelical college the professor's opening statement to the class was that some in this college think that I'm dangerous. I thought, "What an odd statement to make." As I sat in this professors class...Theological Foundations for Christian Ministry, he told the class that he believed in limited inerrancy.

As the class progressed it came time to start work on my position paper, can you guess what I did my position paper on? You got it, "the inerrancy of Scripture." The paper was one of my few B's, I only got two others...my paper was marked up with the professor's ideas and soft rebukes against holding to the inerrancy of Scripture.


Two views  that seem to be making a strong resurgence today among evangelicals is Annihilationism and Universalism. In Annihilationism there are slight variations that are held by those who put forth this erroneous teaching, but it essentially teaches God will eventually snuff every unbeliever out of existence. Some Annihilationists make room for divine wrath, but they don’t allow it to extend beyond the lake of fire. In other words, they won’t allow God the full force of His judgment, which is eternal, conscious torment. For them, the lake of fire is what completely consumes and finally destroys sinners. Whether they see death as the end, or whether they see hell’s torments as limited in duration, the result is the same—a denial of the endlessness of hell .1







In the false and erroneous teaching of universalism we have all men being saved and being guaranteed heaven; since Christ died for all men, then all men will ultimately be saved. This teaching is based on Christ's merits, but they miss the mark in that Christ did not die for all men ... they assume that a loving God will not condemn any man to an eternity in hell to suffer for his sins.

Rob Bell the popular writer and author came out with a book recently titled "love wins." Bell pushes this notion that in the end a loving God will rescue all men from hell. There are many others who teach that in the end all men will be brought into heaven through what Christ did on the cross.

In Christianity Universalism can be traced for the most part to an early church father named Origen (182- 251 AD). Much like today’s Catholic purgatory, he taught that the unsaved are tortured in Hell temporarily, with a series of graded punishments. When they are sufficiently cleansed they can be accepted into Heaven. He believed that God would receive all people (even demons) into heaven. This is the historical Universalist belief. It was condemned as a heresy in the early church and should be condemned today.2

Christian, study, study, and study a little more. Pray, pray, and pray some more. Seek out Godly men who love God' word and hold to Sola Scriptura and discuss the truths of God's word with them.


"I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock" Acts 20:29.




(1) http://www.gty.org/resources/print/blog/B110506
(2) http://www.letusreason.org/Curren31.htm

Friday, May 2, 2014

Woe to them that call evil good and good evil!





How many have heard of the slippery slope? If you’ve ever been on the crest of a hill and got too far on one-side or the other you know you could find yourself on the bottom of the hill.

For those who have been following the recent scandal between the Los Angles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, the racist and adulterer that he is, you know that he made some very disturbing remarks about blacks. It seems as more information is coming out that he was set-up by his low-life mistress lover.

But for my article today that’s not my topic. I’d like to focus on the slippery slope that Mark Cuban referred to when he was asked for his thoughts of the league banning Sterling for life before game four of the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs , he said, "… I think you've got to be very, very careful when you start making blanket statements about what people say and think, as opposed to what they do. It's a very, very slippery slope.

Now for the slippery slope that Cuban referred to….Orlando Magic's Rich DeVos may be the next owner to be scrutinized for his stance that is considered biased and bigoted by some in this world? Mr. Devos is a supporter of traditional marriage, he has in the past supported political candidates who support marriage between and man and a woman.

Here’s what Cuban feared: Mike Bianchi, writing for the Orlando Sentinel says “there is also this difference between Sterling and DeVos: Sterling is a racist in a sport where the work force is 80 percent black. If 80 percent of NBA players were gay, DeVos would no doubt be the owner that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned from the league.

We know that those thirty NBA owners have to be thinking who will be the next among us to stumble and fall and slide down the slippery slope?

The bigger picture is the selective outrage by the elites in our society. It is these selective moral monsters who set the rules for culture of what should be attacked and what can be left alone.

What we are witnessing is a society that has no moorings. A society that is adrift on the sea of moral relativism. We are experiencing what a prophet from long ago describes when a society drifts away from moral absolutes, he shouted out, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).

Robert Anton is the epitome of this ugly plague of moral relativism…listen to his summation of morality, ““Is," "is," "is"—the idiocy of the word haunts me. If it were abolished, human thought might begin to make sense. I don't know what anything "is"; I only know how it seems to me at this moment.”



Another old prophet described what a society looks like when absolute morality is a forgotten way to live one’s life…. The Prophet Samuel describes it like this, “… all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25).

There is only one solution to our cultures coming demise…it is for Americans to repent of their sins and turn to Jesus Christ the Messiah. Only in Him can America find healing and true peace and hope. It is not a moral transformation that is needed, no, that will be the result of lives that have been captures by the grace and mercy of the cross.

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on them John 3:36.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What is the Gospel?





Do words mean things? Of course they do.  How important is it to have a proper biblical understanding of the biblical words we use?  Let me give an example by way of an experience I had while earning my masters degree in a conservative bible college.

In one of my classes we had an adjunct professor teaching a class on leadership philosophy. During the class the professor was going into great detail about the missional church that he was part of. He told of how his missional church worked to purchase a local cafe for the downtown artists in Seattle, Washington. He spoke of the tremendous effort that was put into “reaching” these postmodern artists. He spoke of the many facets of missional work and the commands in Scripture to show mercy and compassion towards the lost.

This went on for some time…until I raised my hand and asked, "when did you share the gospel with these postmodern artists?"  Which lead to a discussion, or an almost discussion on the gospel…which I thought was a pretty important topic to discuss. 

Let me take you a little further into our discussion…I noted to the professor that in sharing the gospel with my Roman Catholic father-in-law…that while we used the same words our understanding of those words were as far as the east is from the west. While we both talked about justification by faith, grace, sin, and divine judgment, it would seem that we were reading from two different bibles.

My point was that we can be using the same words but have two entirely different understandings of those terms and words. For my efforts to define the term gospel I was publicly rebuked by the professor and told to “get off my high horse.”

So, what is the gospel? This should be the question that fuels our passion and drives our Christian lives. We have to know what the bible teaches about the gospel so that we can proclaim it with accuracy and clarity. Our lives should be consumed with having our understanding informed by what the Scriptures teach concerning the gospel…our understanding of the gospel must grow out of Scripture and not out of some un-biblical system of theology. All that should ultimately matter to us is what does God’s word say?

I’ll say this, the gospel is both narrow and wide…let me give you the heart and soul of the gospel (the narrow)…it is found in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.

The gospel is Christ. The gospel will always be Christ…his work…his sacrifice…his grace…his reaching the lost, depraved, and sin-stained sinner.

Listen to the words of our old friend Charles Spurgeon on this matter:

Let this be to you the mark of true gospel preaching - where Christ is everything, and the creature is nothing; where it is salvation all of grace, through the work of the Holy Spirit applying to the soul the precious blood of Jesus."

The gospel call that we see in the N.T. was a call to discipleship, a call to follow Him in submissive obedience, it was more than saying a prayer or a making a decision…it was a call to repent of sin and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul tells us that the gospel = power…the Greek word is dynamite, see Romans 1:16:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

Christian, do not be duped by “another gospel,” as Paul told the saints in Galatia not to be fooled by another gospel even if an angel came down from heaven and preached it (Galatians 1:8)…don’t listen, run, and run fast and far.

Let me close with wise word from R.C. Sproule:

“I think the greatest weakness in the church today is that almost no one believes that God invests His power in the Bible. Everyone is looking for power in a program, in a methodology, in a technique, in anything and everything but that in which God has placed it—His Word. He alone has the power to change lives for eternity, and that power is focused on the Scriptures.”

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

God's Unchanging Law


The moral law of God as contained in the Ten Commandments is alive and enforceable today in our 21st century era of moral relativism. This statement is anathema to our culture and to those who oppose any moral absolutes.  The Apostle Paul tells us in chapter one in the book of Romans that a society can apostate and slide into a black hole of apostasy when God's law is pushed to the side and marginalized.

But what about an individual? can a person ignore the moral law of God without suffering the same fate? Can any person harden their heart and sear their own conscience without also sliding down the black hole of nothingness?

We as Christians know that the whole world system is directed and under the power and influence of Satan (Ephesians 2:2). He has blinded the minds of the lost (2 Corinthians 4:4). He works to keep unbelievers in spiritual darkness.

This wold's system with all of its philosophies, ideologies, and religions are under the direction of the prince of the power of the air...Satan. As we analyze why moral relativism is alive and well in the 21st century we don't have to look to far...the deceiver and the enemy of God is at work in our educational systems, in our governments, and yes, even in our churches.

But for God's people the moral law of God is a lamp to their feet and a light for their paths Psalm (119:105). The moral law of God as contained in the Ten Commandments is an absolute standard of morality...it will never change or equivocate....this is where the child of God plants his flag...in God's unchanging moral law.

Listen to a wise man from the past...one of our former presidents on the importance of God's moral law:


“The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount…If we don’t have a proper fundamental moral background, we will finally end up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the State.”
Harry S. Truman

It is reassuring for the believer to know that God is not changing his mind from generation to generation. His law is fixed and permanent.

Here's another voice from the past on the surety and steadfastness of God's moral law:

“Opinions alter, manners change, creeds rise and fall, but the moral law is written on the tablets of eternity.”
John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton

I would encourage the believer to go back to the moral law of God and devour it, love it, nurture it, and thank God for it. God's law is good, clean, pure, and holy.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

All of life is theological!




      All of life is theological!


Have you ever heard or read the thought that all of life is theological? Think about it. Take the time and deeply think about how all of life is to be understood and explained. Okay, I jumped ahead of myself here ... let me give you a quick definition of theology:

The first half of theology is theo-, which means god in Greek. The suffix -logy means “the study of,” so theology literally means “the study of god,"

The "study of God" wow! J.I Packer says that all of life is about knowing God; listen as he speaks, "“Once you become aware that the main business that you are here for is to know God, most of life's problems fall into place of their own accord.”

 I'm a simple man, so it just makes sense that since God the creator created us and the world we live in we should then should seek to know this God ... to study this God ... and allow this God to speak to us. But one might ask, how can I study God? How can I allow God to speak to me? Well, I'm glad I can answer that question with the utmost confidence...He's given us a book. Yes, God has revealed Himself to us through the sacred pages of the Scriptures. God speaks to us through the sacred pages of Scriptures.


When the Christian realizes that God has given him all things for life and Godliness he need not look any further in his search for fulfillment and happiness...2 Peter 1:3 says:


As his divine power has given to us all things which relate to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that has called us by glory and virtue,


Now back to the original thought...all life is theological. In every area of life we live we should seek to know God's will and to hear God speaking. Whether it is in our marriage, or raising our children, or how we deal with pain and suffering, or knowing the difference between what is good or what is evil...for the Christian we seek to study God. Now, I certainly agree with Dietrich Bonhoeffer when he says, "While it is good that we seek to know the Holy One, it is probably not so good to presume that we ever complete the task.” But nevertheless, we live out our lives with the passion and thirst to seek and to know God.




So God has revealed to us what He wants us to know. The secret things will always belong to God. However, we are still exhorted and encouraged to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). The Christian is to be placing his affections on those things in God's kingdom (Colossians 3:1-2).


When we live our lives with the deep realization that all things begin with God and end with God, we then can begin to look outside ourselves for life’s answers. When we know God we know ourselves. When we know God we begin to understand ourselves and the world around us from God's perspective.

One last word on knowing God by Mr. Packer, he says,
"How can we turn our knowledge about God into knowledge of God? The rule for doing this is simple but demanding. It is that we turn each Truth that we learn about God into matter for meditation before God, leading to prayer and praise to God.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Deist or Theist?



Today's thoughts come from my musings about whether or not Christians really believe what they say they believe. In other words, are we living a congruent life? Does our lifestyle match what we believe in our head? In the psychological world the term used for a life that does not match or agree with our core beliefs is called cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is just a fancy word that is saying that you're not walking the talk, or you're not being true to who you say you are.

Life shows us that when one lives contrary to what their core beliefs are they get all discombobulated, that's another fancy word for all messed up. We as Christians are the most prone to fall into this cognitive dissonance trap. We have tons of core beliefs, and values, and in addition to all of our beliefs and values we also have our own personal lists of do's and don'ts.

Having said that, let me ask this question of you...do you really live your life like God is present and active in all details of your existence? Do you practice the presence of God in your life. Can the Child of God expect to live in the presence of God? The answer is clear, for those who are saved have God’s presence with them. Did not Jesus say, " I am with you always"?

Are you living your Christian life as a Deist or a Theist? If you are not practicing the presence of God in your life by praying, thinking and dwelling on the things of God...if you are not actively seeking those things that are above you are really a Deist by practice.

The Psalmist had it right when he exclaimed,
“Thou wilt show me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore” ( Psalm 16:11). Let me ask you another question, hope you are not getting tired of all the questions, but they do serve a purpose, it is to get you to dig down and do some deep introspection, so here is the question:

 IF JESUS WERE WITH US FOR 24 HOURS A DAY 7 DAYS A WEEK, WOULD YOUR LIFE CHANGE?

GEN. 28:15 says, "I am with thee, and will keep thee in all the places wither thou goest."

Don't live your life as a Deist, live your live as a theist. I'm using the terms quite loosely, but by Deist, I mean living your life as if God is some far off Deity, and by theist, I mean one who lives his life as if God is close and can be known personally. The balance for the Christian is to live within both the knowledge of the transcendence and immanence of God. While God is above and beyond his creation (transcendence), he has also made Himself knowable to his creation and particularly to His people (immanence).

Christian...live today in the presence of your God and your King.




Tuesday, February 11, 2014

All True Worship Starts From Within.



God has established means for His Church by which she is to grow and mature into Christ-likeness.  If God's clear and precise means are not followed there will be no growth or maturity for God's people; there will be only spiritual decay and deterioration.

Today's blog will share with you one of the means that God has established for His Church. God's word is the one means by which the Christian can grow and mature, and be shaped and molded into the image of Christ. Without a steady and constant diet of truth malnutrition sets in and the believer begins to become weak and vulnerable to the flesh, the devil, and the world.

I'd like to share a text of Scripture with you that will nourish and feed your soul. The text is found in 1Peter 3:15:
                                                        
 "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord...."

Let's take this one single morsel and allow it to feed and nourish your soul. Let this text of God's word sink deep into your inner being. Mediate on it and allow it to transform your thinking and your living.

Are you ready? Lets get going...I love how the
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary lays out how the believer is to revere Christ, they note:

sanctify—hallow; honor as holy, enshrining Him in your hearts. So [as] in the Lord's Prayer, Mt 6:9. God's holiness is thus glorified in our hearts as the dwelling-place of His Spirit.

The believer is to sanctify Christ as Lord in his heart...the heart is our inner sanctuary. This inner sanctuary is where all true worship takes place. Yes, we glorify Christ before others, but all of our actions on the outside start and emanate from within our inner sanctuary.

Thought: Those who are religious (and I use this term for those who have an outward from of Godliness, but do not have the life changing Holy Spirit inside them) can only perform religious deeds, and righteous acts...they can never sanctify Christ as Lord in their hearts.

When we live-out our daily lives, setting Christ up as Lord in our hearts, we live in submission to His holy Lordship in our lives...we are thus changed from the inside out...we live our lives not autonomously, but in total dependency on Christ's strength.

We look for the nod of His approval in all we do. When the Christian's worship starts within first, he is then on the path to becoming like his Master and fulfilling His Masters plan for his life

Monday, January 27, 2014

Continuing In Prayer


Those who have grown up in Christian homes and in the church have heard "Christian speak" all of their lives. It is like being out in the cold weather, eventually you get use to it. The purpose of today's blog is to look at one such phrase that we have all heard. We have all heard at one time or another the expression to "walk with God," or another way you may have heard it expressed is walking in "fellowship with God."

Now, to let you know, I love theology, and with theology comes words, concepts, and ideas. However, theology with its concepts and ideas must be brought down from the abstract into reality in order for it to be effective and explosive in our daily lives. If theology remains in the abstract, it becomes neutered for us and diffused of its power and explosiveness.

This concept of walking with God sounds so wonderful, so grand; to think that sinful man, that you and I can walk with the creator of the universe. We have sung about it; we have read about it; matter of fact, we see it in the first book of the Bible. We have recorded for us that Adam and Eve had contact with God on a level known only by a few other humans. Then further on in Genesis we see that Enoch enjoyed a close relationship with God...it is recorded that Enoch walked with God.

Throughout the entire Old Testament, we see that there were those who enjoyed the privilege of walking with God. When we come into the New Testament, we are struck with language that implies and suggests that we are to be walking with God. Jesus whispers this concept to His followers as he tells them, "abide in me, and [let] my words abide in you" (John 15:7).

The Apostle Paul echoes the same thought when he tells the Church at Galatia to "walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:16). The whole epistle of 1John is peppered with the language of walking in the light, and walking in truth...which are all metaphors for walking with the one who is light and truth.

Here is the conundrum for us all...how do we keep this expression from becoming just another catchphrase? Just another bumper sticker slogan that we paste on our cars? How do we get this concept out of the abstract and make it our reality?

As I was thinking hard on this and reflecting on my nearly four decades of being a Christian, one thought came to mind...now mind you, this is just one principle out of many principles that the Scriptures give to instruct us on how to walk with God. This one grand principle is given to us in Colossians 4:2 where Paul tells us "Continue in prayer," and again in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 where we are exhorted to "Pray without ceasing." Continual prayer seems to be the one link in the chain that needs to be healthy in order for the believer to have a strong and vigorous walk with God.

The idea of continual prayer should be looked at from the perspective of an attitude more so than how often we pray. If the believer maintains a prayerful attitude, he is guarding his conscience from those things that would disrupt a strong healthy conscience before God. No believer can have a healthy walk with God while carrying around a weak and offended conscience.

The believer who walks with God is a sober and vigilant person. He is on guard from any influence that would disrupt his communion with his God. This prayerful attitude keeps his emotions in check...there is much self-inventory going on: do I have a bitter spirit? a jealous spirit? a greedy spirit? a lustful spirit? etc.

This attitude of prayer reminds the believer daily, no, not just daily, but hourly, or even better  yet continuously, that he is to be dying to self, dying to his sinful passions and desires.

So I leave you with this last thought: "For every look at self—take ten looks at Christ! Live near to Jesus—and all things will appear little to you in comparison with eternal realities Robert Murray McCheyne (1813-1843).

Our Mind's Matter

Thinking, thinking, thinking, always thinking. The life of the mind is the heart of the Christian life. As I think through the Scriptur...